Allegro Opens 10th Season With Spanish Sound
Allegro Baroque & Beyond opens its 10th anniversary season on the 10th day of the 10th month at The Met. The four-concert season, titled “Allegro Around the World,” begins with the “Sounds of Spain.”
The works of Spanish composers and pieces about Spain by a few others constitute the program, which goes well beyond Baroque with stops in the 19th century along the way to the 20th.
The musicians for Tuesday’s performance will include the artistic directors of Allegro, Beverly Biggs on piano and harpsichord, and David Dutton playing oboe and English horn. Joining them will be a couple of members of the Spokane Symphony: Wayne Smith, a cellist with an interest in early music, and Marty Zyskowski, all-around percussionist, who will be warming up his castanets for the gig.
Dipping into the hundreds of keyboard sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti, who found his way to Spain from Naples, Biggs pulled out his D minor Sonata, K. 141.
This work exemplifies Scarlatti’s use of acciaccatura, a “simultaneous mordent” where a suspension and its resolution are contained in the same chord. It is suspected that Scarlatti derived this unconventional tonal device from the guitar style he heard in Spain.
A couple of sonatas by a student of Scarlatti, the Catalan organist and composer Antonio Soler, will also be performed.
Soler, known for his 120 keyboard sonatas, wrote the controversial “Llave de la modulacion,” which explains how to modulate from any major or minor key to any other posthaste.
This racy text met with disapproval from the establishment for doing what it set out to do too well but remained a valuable resource for quite some time after the fracas.
At our end of the time line are a few 20th century composers who will be featured. Carlos Surinach, a composer known mainly for his dance music written for the likes of Martha Graham and the Joffrey Ballet, left his native Barcelona to come to the United States in 1951.
Allegro will perform his Three Tientos, from 1953, written for harpsichord, English horn and timpani. The Tientos are “Plaintive,” “Sorrow” and “Joy.”
From Manuel de Falla we will hear “Asturiana” and “Nana” from his 1915 collection “Seven Popular Spanish Songs.” The Cuban pianist and composer Joaquin Nin will be represented by “Murciana” from his Suite Espagnol.
And Pablo de Sarasate, the Spanish violin virtuoso who wrote violin ditties for his own programs, will weigh in with the Spanish dance, “Playera.”
Dutton will purloin two vocal works for his oboe, both by outsiders taking a view of Spain. He will play Rossini’s 1821 “Canzonetta Spagnuola” and Ravel’s piece borrowed by many instrumentalists, the “Vocalise-etude en forme de habanera,” written in 1907.
Allegro directors Biggs and Dutton have had many irons in the artistic fire during their tenure in Spokane.
They are responsible for the annual Royal Fireworks Concert in Riverfront Park and the Music in Historic Homes series.
They have good reason to celebrate 10 years of Allegro Baroque and Beyond: They have found a steadily growing following for their niche in authentic period chamber music.
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Allegro’s “Sounds of Spain” Location and time: The Met, Tuesday, 8 p.m., with a preconcert talk beginning at 7 Tickets: $8-$15
This sidebar appeared with the story: Allegro’s “Sounds of Spain” Location and time: The Met, Tuesday, 8 p.m., with a preconcert talk beginning at 7 Tickets: $8-$15